Describe a place or time where the main character felt very comfortable or uncomfortable in the written text? Explain how the techniques helped you to understand the characters reaction

We all can feel uncomfortable depending on a situation we are in. It could be a feeling of uselessness, fear, or complete and utter embarrassment or the pain of a broken leg, causing disability and a heavy burden. The technique of using syntax can create a variety of emotion to show the theme that ” humans are able to feel others physical and emotional discomfort in a demanding situation ” This theme is evident in the novel “Touching the Void”, by Joe Simpson which is written as a factual recount of his own experience when climbing Sicilia Grande with the company of Simon Yates and Richard Hawking.

“What now? It was a vicious circle. If you succeed with one dream, you come back to square one and it’s not long before your conjuring up another, slightly harder, a bit more ambitious- a bit more dangerous… As if, in some strange way, the very nature of the game was controlling me, taking me towards a logical but frightening conclusion; it always unsettled me, this moment of reaching the summit, this sudden stillness and quiet after the storm, which gave me time to wonder what I was doing and sense a niggling doubt that perhaps I was inexorably losing control – was I here purely for pleasure or was it egotism? Did I really want to come back for more?” A moment of reflection. Joe and Simon summit the west face of Siula Grande, and are the first to achieve this climb, the only thing left between failure or success is the descent. The prospect that failure will be encountered, is very much there for Joe, he states that this niggling doubt of losing control was there in his head, the making of that section creates a complex sentence that shows that his emotional discomfort is the result of the fear of death or injury that will forever prevent what he thinks as an accomplished life. Rhetorical questions are used throughout this passage of text to show evidence of the state of confusion Joe is going through to feel at ease and comfort, for example “What now?” assists the readers to understand that Joe is in distress and feels uncomfortable with his decision making, it is short and sharp and creates a stressed effect but the quotes “Was I here, purely for pleasure or was it egotism?… Did I really want to come back for more?” develops the idea that Joe’s reaction to his own egotism, that he has been trying so hard to ignore and push back and hide from Simon or that he has answered his own question, he finds no satisfaction from the summit of a mountain, he is in it for himself. The usage of Syntax and Rhetorical Questions helps the reader to identify how the main character is shown to be emotionally uncomfortable and how he waited until he was in his own solitude to reflect on his narcissistic characteristics in the sense that he is only climbing summits to prove himself and as a result he is replacing his climbing inspiration with egotism and ambition.

Furthur on into the book, Joe shatters his knee joint on the descent of the west face of Silica Grande, catapulted off the ridge and head first on his back down he slides down the slope.

p.g 72 Evidence of physical discomfort: Joe shatters knee joint, huge use of the personal pronoun ‘I’. Beginning Large amounts of Compound and Complex Sentences and than Simple, Minor sentences are used to create that mind racing feeling. Repetition of the same sentence “My leg! Oh Jesus. My leg!”

p.g. 109 Evidence of physical and emotional discomfort: Joe falls down into a crevasse and Simon assumes he is dead. Joe’s leg is causing grave pain and that is the physical discomfort but his emotional discomfort is really consuming himself. Joe begins to laugh and apparently because of happiness, with the laughter also comes tears. Than it stops, tension stricken. A strong use of minor sentences, and compound sentences together.

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  1. Yasmin, I do like your personal voice that comes through this writing. Also, there are some striking personal judgements made about the text: E.g. “his emotional discomfort is the result of the fear of death or injury that will forever prevent what he thinks as an accomplished life” and “how he waited until he was in his own solitude to reflect on his narcissistic characteristics in the sense that he is only climbing summits to prove himself”
    * Will you be able to complete this practice essay soon?

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